Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Sea Cliff Nutrition Committee. The Apple People

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Action Alert: Tell Big Food to Stop Marketing Junk to Kids

The fight to limit the advertising of junk food to kids has really heated up. Here's the position of two groups working on on the issue and links so that you can send a message to Congress.

From the Environmental Working Group:

Do you want to stop childhood obesity?

I'm sure you do - but food companies don't. They spend billions on advertising targeting children - $1.6 billion in 2006 alone - and now they're objecting to voluntary government guidelines for marketing food to children.

Major food companies are lobbying the government to withdraw the guidelines completely and instead use the industry's own definition of "responsible advertising." The message couldn't be clearer: they don't care if their products hurt kids. They care about the bottom line. So we joined forces with the Center for Science in the Public Interest to take on the food industry and tell its chief executive officers to stop the attacks and start helping our children. We need you to stand with us today to make sure they get the message loud and clear.

Click here to stand with EWG today in demanding that the CEOs of 13 manufacturers use their resources to market healthier food to our children, not to lobby to protect the unhealthy status quo.

Because of the alarming rates of childhood obesity, in 2009, Congress instructed the Federal Trade Commission, Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Disease Control, and Department of Agriculture to form an Interagency Working Group to look into child-targeted advertising and recommend standards for marketing food to children under 18.

When the Working Group published its draft, voluntary guidelines in April, it suggested that food companies adopt two voluntary principles, not legally enforceable by any regulatory agency, that food advertised to children should:
  • make "a meaningful contribution to a healthful diet" by containing a significant amount of fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, fish, extra lean meat or poultry, eggs, nuts and seeds, or beans.
  • have only "minimal quantities of nutrients that could have a negative impact on health and weight," such as sodium, saturated fat, trans fat and added sugars.
These commonsense recommendations would encourage children to adopt healthy eating habits. But the goal for big food interests is an even fatter bottom line, so they're lobbying the government and calling on the Working Group to throw out its voluntary proposal and use the industry's own guidelines for responsible advertising.

We can't let them get away with it. EWG is taking on the food industry and we need you to stand with us - companies need to hear from their customers.

Click here right away to tell the CEOs of 13 large manufacturers to market healthier food to children, not lobby the government.

Thank you for standing up for healthy children. We can't move markets without your support.

Ken Cook
President, Environmental Working Group
From the Center for Science in the Public Interest:

The Interagency Working Group on Foods Marketed to Children (IWG) has proposed reasonable nutrition guidelines to help provide a model for companies that market to kids.
Unfortunately, the food industry and media companies are working to get Congress to stop the IWG from finalizing these sensible recommendations. Already, the House of Representatives included a rider in its Financial Services spending bill that would block the IWG’s work – even though over 20,000 parents and organizations wrote in support of the guidelines. If the industry is successful in convincing the Senate to do the same, it would kill the IWG recommendations.

Please support children’s health by sending an email to both of your Senators today to ask them to support the IWG’s efforts to improve the nutritional profile of the foods and beverages that are marketed to children.  We need your help today, as the vote is expected on Thursday.

Margo G. Wootan, D.Sc.
Director, Nutrition Policy
Center for Science in the Public Interest

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